The effect of combining alleles into electrophoretic classes on detecting linkage disequilibrium.
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When alleles are combined into few detectable classes, linkage correlations are underestimated most of the time. The probability that the linkage correlation will be underestimated is a function of the actual degree of correlation and the evenness of the allelic distribution, but is mainly determined by the distribution of alleles into distinguishable classes. With only two alleles per class this probability will usually be higher than 0.7. Also, the consistency in the sign of the linkage disequilibrium over many populations may escape detection. An increase of sample size by one order of magnitude or more may be required to compensate for the loss in detection power. It follows that the available electrophoretic studies of linkage correlations, although negative in their majority, do not suggest that epistatic interactions and linkage disequilibria are rare in natural populations.
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